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Subject: Shipping costs are out of hand rss

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Isaac Citrom
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I just received a game from GMT. I paid $47 for the game and GMT charged me $20 for shipping to Canada.

The postage was $38 via the USPS/Canada Post. The charge for shipping from the post office was almost (80%) the cost of the game. WTF!

Firstly, how does GMT swallow $18 of postage on a $47 game and still survive?

Secondly, these new very high shipping costs are due to the recent restructuring of the fee schedule by the USPS. UPS, FedEx charge like prices, so the USPS apparently decided to cash in as well. Canada Post also has increased their prices a lot.

My question is this: I've seen free market economics actually work in everyday life. So, how come it doesn't seem to be working in the shipping business?

Obviously, people will order online less and the shipping companies will have less packages to ship. What is the economics playing out here?

As an aside, it seems like the economy at large is being hobbled by these few shipping companies. Sales decrease all around. And, for the people who are willing and do swallow this huge extra cost, it doesn't go to the manufacturers, designers, retailers, etc. It all goes to the shipping companies.

So long as the free market works, competition brings the lowest prices possible, it's fine that shipping rests in the hands of private firms. But, if something is broken, isn't shipping a near essential service?
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Enrico Viglino
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GMT isn't losing money on games they sell full price. Think about
what cut they get when they sell to a distributor. The key for them
is to not undercut the retail by much.
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Kev.
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Right printing is China is 3-4 dollars, 6-8 here or something like that. Then marketing, design fees etc.....
But you are right Shipping especially to Canada has become insane. The local USPS blames Canada.

I would do no such thing to my Commonwealth friends.
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Eren Koyunoglu
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You are lucky, shipping a game to Turkey costs more than the game in most cases. USPS priority costs around 60$ to me :/
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Roger Hobden
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GMT and MMP should move to Canada !

When will have our own GMT.CA and MMP.CA ? cool
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roger miller
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I work in the shipping business as well as own a wargame company. Shipping business profits per package have been declining for years. Many companies out of business and others desperate to reduce costs. Biggest problems: Fuel costs are 4 times what they were 35 years ago. Insurance for liability and injury are at least triple what they once were. Medical benefits for the companies that offer them are out of hand. Traffic and airport congestion means everything takes longer to get somewhere. Since time is money when you are paying for drivers and equipment this adds a lot compared to the good old days. Increased regulation and compliance costs, like my yearly TSA training.





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Clayton
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I have found shipping to the US from Canada costs less than the other way around. To check I went to both of the respective postal websites and checked shipping rates on a game sized package up to 3 lbs.

USPS:

First-Class International Options
First-Class Package International Service™**
Maximum Value for Contents: $400.00
Other than rolls: Max. length 24", max length, height and depth (thickness) combined 36"
Rolls: Max. length 36". Max length and twice the diameter combined 42" Varies by destination
Post Office Price $23.15 Online Price $20.84

Canada Post:

Expedited ParcelTM - USA 4 business days
$21.78
Options
Mailing Tube $1.50
Delivery Confirmation Incl.
Unpackaged $10.00
Rate Summary
Base Price $20.40
Coverage* $Update $0.00
Fuel Surcharge $1.38
Options $0.00
Tax $0.00
Total $21.78

So whats up with no one shipping USPS "First-Class International"?

USPS Priority choice are the ones that are sky high, is there a reason no one sends First Class?

The Priority options were:

Priority Mail International®
Max. length 79", max. length plus girth 108" 6 - 10 business days $35.30 $33.18

Priority Mail International® Large Flat Rate Box
USPS-Produced Box: 23-11/16" x 11-3/4" x 3" or 12" x 12" x 5-1/2"
Maximum weight 20 pounds. 6 - 10 business days $53.95 $53.95

Priority Mail International® Medium Flat Rate Box
USPS-Produced Box: 13-5/8" x 11-7/8" x 3-3/8" or 11" x 8-1/2" x 5-1/2"
Maximum weight 20 pounds. 6 - 10 business days $40.95 $40.95

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David
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Try shipping to New Zealand, and feel the pain

GMT are the best though, their shipping rates here are the most competitive. kudos to them.
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Thom0909
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You can get big discounts with bulk shipping, but GMT can't do that here. I believe (may be wrong) that the increases have been worse for non-volume shipping.
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Isaac Citrom
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klaytonz wrote:
...

So whats up with no one shipping USPS "First-Class International"?

USPS Priority choice are the ones that are sky high, is there a reason no one sends First Class?


Yes. the USPS reserves First Class mail as a low cost essential service. They call it "non-competitive" whereas the bulk of everything else is called "competitive," in line with what the courier companies do.

The USPS felt that First Class mail was too wide and they were shipping many packages that the courier companies make profit on. So, they narrowed down First Class. Before, you could ship 20 lbs under First Class, now it's 4 pounds. Most every game now falls outside of First Class mail and falls into the competitive categories and services.
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Free market economies work only when the "competitors" have a vested interest in winning. In the case of the limited supply of postal carriers ... why bother?

If one carrier gets away with charing $10 when everyone else charges $7, why wouldn't the rest just start charging $10? It's now become the new price. If people STOP shipping then the carriers might be convinced to change, but likely they'd just increase the costs to other customers who are more beholden to their services.

I don't recall an instance in the last few years where "cheaper for the same thing" has won out and shifted a market segment. It typically isn't "cheaper for the same thing" any longer either. It's more typically, "cheaper for a significantly cheaper made product or service" coupled with "a slight price increase on the same old product of expected quality rebranded with premium in the name."

Boardgames, by and large, have offered the best bang for the buck for the last decade. We are very lucky.
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Darrell Hanning
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rmiller1093 wrote:
Biggest problems: Fuel costs are 4 times what they were 35 years ago. Insurance for liability and injury are at least triple what they once were. Medical benefits for the companies that offer them are out of hand. Traffic and airport congestion means everything takes longer to get somewhere. Since time is money when you are paying for drivers and equipment this adds a lot compared to the good old days. Increased regulation and compliance costs, like my yearly TSA training.


Can't speak to the rest, but in dollars adjusted for inflation, the cost of gas in 1981 was darn close to what it is, right now. The biggest disparity looks to be between 1999 and 2008, and that was (briefly) about three times the cost. (http://zfacts.com/gas-price-history-graph)

I have no doubt medical insurance costs are a huge driver in the difference.
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Brian Morris
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As I've mentioned before I own my own business and I do a lot of international shipping. Mostly Canada but also the UK, New Zealand and Australia (Just made my first sale too Russia though). The new rates suck and are costing me business. The best comment I had was from a longtime customer of ours who offered us Saskatchewan in exchange for lowering the postal rates. I tried to get them to take Detroit as part of the deal but that was a deal breaker they said.
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Enrico Viglino
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medlinke wrote:


If one carrier gets away with charing $10 when everyone else charges $7, why wouldn't the rest just start charging $10? .


Because a decent number of people choose the cheapest option?
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Thom0909
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DarrellKH wrote:
rmiller1093 wrote:
Biggest problems: Fuel costs are 4 times what they were 35 years ago. Insurance for liability and injury are at least triple what they once were. Medical benefits for the companies that offer them are out of hand. Traffic and airport congestion means everything takes longer to get somewhere. Since time is money when you are paying for drivers and equipment this adds a lot compared to the good old days. Increased regulation and compliance costs, like my yearly TSA training.


Can't speak to the rest, but in dollars adjusted for inflation, the cost of gas in 1981 was darn close to what it is, right now. The biggest disparity looks to be between 1999 and 2008, and that was (briefly) about three times the cost. (http://zfacts.com/gas-price-history-graph)

I have no doubt medical insurance costs are a huge driver in the difference.


The price of a basic stamp hasn't really gone up either (it fluctuates a lot in real terms, but isn't out of line historically).

Any way to measure the price of shipping board games today vs., say, 1980?

http://priceofastamp.com/history-of-the-price-of-a-stamp/sta...

ADDED: Old AH catalog: add 10% to price for shipping, 20% if in Canada. Very cheap compared to today.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/93364957/Avalon-Hill-Catalog-Jan-1...
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Eduardo Guimarães
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Try to be a gamer in Brazil! Expensive shiping and 60%-100% VAT. shake
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Lorn Fluke
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What I find peculiar is how cheap, relative to shipping, games are.

I mean you have to figure everything in a game box has been shipped several times - paper and cardboard for example from the logging company to the paper factory, to wholesalers, to printers, to game companies, to game distributors etc. Same with ink, dice, plastic, cards, whatever comes in the box.

If it costs $12 to ship the whole thing to me, how much did it cost for all the shipments required to manufacture all the components inside? Why are games so cheap?
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Tyler
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I recently shipped a countersheet from Washington state to British Columbia (so a short border hop, basically). One piece of die-cut cardboard stuck between two pieces of cardboard and slipped into a large manila envelope. The whole thing weighed 5 or 6 ounces. Online quote (via First Class International) was $4, payable at the post office only. Got to the post office, charged $8.50 on the First Class package rate, because the envelope was "too rigid." "Won't fit through our machines," was the explanation I received. Never mind that I could send the exact same article from Seattle, Washington to Key West, Florida or San Diego to Portland, Maine for less than $2.50.

I yelled. I yelled right there in the post office.
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Christopher Fasulo
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Grognard Simulations offers First Class International (FCI) rates for this very reason. I am not certain that the website will accept it as a choice even though I have it set to accept it. But I always tell those overseas to write me direct and I will make the sale using the USPS FCI rate and work the sale through PayPal. The limit for FCI is 4lbs. So far our games come in under that. More than 1 game and you likely pay more.

Regards,
Chris Fasulo
President
Grognard Simulations
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Jill R
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Insurance on my Husbands truck as an Owner Operator / Hotshot driver is over 5 grand a year ($5,000). And that is with a $1,000 deductible and no glass coverage.

He has a clean driving record no accidents or tickets for over 1 million miles, but the insurance company's don't care. If your driving for a living your paying a ton of money on that truck. The interesting part is 95% of trucking accidents happen while backing up. Unfortunately the 5% that happen when moving forward often are tragic and cost the most to pay out.


What I always thought was weird was that Insurance to cover up to One Million dollars of his load ($1,000,000) is just over $15 a year.

Then yes training, inspections, licensing, upkeep, radios, uniforms, it all adds up.
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calandale wrote:
medlinke wrote:


If one carrier gets away with charing $10 when everyone else charges $7, why wouldn't the rest just start charging $10? .


Because a decent number of people choose the cheapest option?


That must be localized to where you live!
 
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Isaac Citrom
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eBay must be really worried. It's happened a couple of times now that I just forgot about selling something online because the cost of shipping made the potential sale untenable, whereas before it would have been fine.
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Wendell
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kenosha_kid wrote:


But then again, I am an unabashed de-boxer anyway.


Pervert.
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Stephen Brophy
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It's expensive to import games to the UK as well, on a personal basis.
Because we have distributors/retailers who buy in bulk, they can absorb/reduce some of the shipping and tax costs. The ironic part is that it can be no more expensive to buy the game at cost price from a UK distributor, than pre-order at a discount price from the States, and then have to pay the full shipping, tax and anything the postal authorities here in the UK decide to tag onto the price.
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Daniel Sell
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forlorn hope wrote:
It's expensive to import games to the UK as well, on a personal basis.
Because we have distributors/retailers who buy in bulk, they can absorb/reduce some of the shipping and tax costs. The ironic part is that it can be no more expensive to buy the game at cost price from a UK distributor, than pre-order at a discount price from the States, and then have to pay the full shipping, tax and anything the postal authorities here in the UK decide to tag onto the price.


I just got hit with this for Cuba Libre. I believe they pick as many parcels as they can be bothered to carry to their station and then add £8+3d10 to the cost. I imagine they especially enjoy adding the £8 administrative fee when the actual charge is less than the cost of a cup of tea.
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